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Forgotten watchmakers you should know • Gear storage

Forgotten watchmakers who you should know • Gearbox

Brands reminiscent of Rolex, Patek, Audemars Piguet and Omega dominate the primary place of vintage watch collectors, not only due to their distinctive quality, but in addition because of their historic significance. These are names which were round for many years and in some instances centuries; they’ve come to help decide what the watch business is immediately.

These previous brands, nevertheless, will not be just vital vintage-style watches. Earlier than the 1970s and 80s quartz crisis, there have been dozens of different watchmakers who produced distinctive watches. Though most of them have been victims of seismic change in time management know-how, it’s value amassing their watches.


The roots of Cortébert return to the 1790s, when the watchmaker Abraham-Louis Juillard opened his bell in Switzerland in Cortébert. Nevertheless, the names were not used till the mid-19th century. There’s not much information about Cortébert (its data have been misplaced within the hearth in the 50s), however it was thought-about the high-end model of the day. It’s presently greatest recognized for the exact railway watches delivered to the Turkish and Italian rail techniques (the latter being bought beneath the Perse model).

Cortébert also produced one of many world's first leap bounce watches in the 1890s, when he was given the proper to use the watchmaker motion made by watchmaker Josef Pallweber (IWC's popularity was better used). Cortébert ultimately produced a leaping hour wristwatch in the 1920s. Presumably, it even built the movement that shaped the inspiration for the Rolex 618 used within the previous Panerai watches. Regardless of this, Cortébert ultimately turned a so-called. Quartz Crisis and closed. Cortébert's stays continue on Perseon as we speak, despite the fact that it is a utterly totally different company than the previous Juggernaut.

Cortébert Watches to Gather
Cortébert Sport: View advertisements
Cortébert Grand Prix: View advertisements
Cortébert Turkish Railroad Watch: View advertisements


Elgin, outdoors Elgin, founded In the 1860s, the Elgin Nationwide Watch Company was one of the earliest watchmakers who based buying and selling in America. It was additionally the most important: within the late 19th and early 20th century, its manufacturing unit complicated was the most important devoted security facility on the earth, and the brand completed some 60 million clocks in 100 years. Elgin was capable of achieve such unimaginable manufacturing numbers by being an early mass production technique, utilizing interchangeable machine-made elements.

Like different American watchmakers, Elgin discovered it troublesome to compete within the Swiss watchmaker competition, backed by Swiss neutrality throughout World Conflict II, the 1950s and 60s, and ultimately closed manufacturing in 1968. Elg's identify was bought and bought a number of occasions ; all trendy watches with the Elgin identify are on no account related to the American watchmaker in america.

Elgin made many pocket watches (so many American watchmakers flourished), but the model was an early wristwatch manufacturer. made some wonderful time pieces. It additionally made watches for the US army (especially icons A-11) as well as some unique and progressive designs, akin to Direct Read (which showed time on discs long before it turned a development). In America, Elgin watches all over the world are quite low cost to purchase and serve, and most fashions only sell a couple of hundred dollars on the classic market.

Elgin watches to gather
Elgin Shockmaster View listings
Elgin A-11 View advertisements
Elgin Straight Learn Show advertisements


Enicar was founded in 1914 in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, by Ariste Racine (whose last identify you might discover is Enicar when it’s written backwards). As a relatively humble exercise, the distribution of the model shortly began to be topical within the japanese market, comparable to Russia and China (where the model turned extremely popular). After the Second World Warfare, the watchmaker elevated his skills and produced his personal actions (versus counting on the shops provided) and the development instruments watches, which have been, in response to most accounts, exceptionally reliable and inexpensive. It even promoted clock movements when ultrasonically cleaned.

Enicar's peak appeared to be in the 1950s and '60s. In 1954, it had produced its first movement with Chromometric Certification from the Neuchatel Observatory. On the similar time, the brand delivered its diver to the mountaineers of Seapearl 600, particularly to the group of Swiss mountaineers, who scaled as much as Lhotsen and Everest in 1956. A number of years later, the US Navy evaluated and used the Seapearl mannequin, which it in contrast with Rolex Submariner and Blancpain Fifty-Fathom when it comes to performance and low value.

Enicar, like many watchmakers, encountered a crash within the so-called. Even though the watchmaker was a part of the Swiss consortium to develop Beta 21, certainly one of Wolrd's first qurtz stores. In the late 1980s, the company went into insolvency and was acquired by Wah Ming Hong, a watch and jewelery firm based mostly in Hong Kong. Enicar continues to make watches, but the model is usually in Asia, where it’s still a robust seller.

Enicar Ultrasound: View advertisements

Enicar Seapearl: View advertisements
Enicar Sherpa: View advertisements


Like Elgin, Gruen was one of many largest watchmakers in the USA, founded by German-born watchmaker Dietrich Grün in Cincinnati within the 1870s (he later modified his identify to Gruen). The company underwent a number of identify modifications until it turned the one Gruen Watch Company in the early 1900s. It was noteworthy that it was an American company that produced its personal actions in Switzerland – the company retained Biel's production plant, but its watches have been nonetheless set, chosen and positioned in america

Gruen launched many inventions and watches. Grün himself invented a security gear that forestalls motion from damaging if the primary body was broken and included into Gruen's movements. Gruen additionally experimented with watches using very skinny actions (generally known as Veri-Thin), and its boldest design – Curvex – made a curved motion in the curved rectangular casing of the design. The curved rectangular watches meant for the consumer's wrist have been common on the time, but used flat movements. Utilizing a curved caliber the operation of the inside was larger and more sturdy, however the clock itself remained skinny

In 1953, the household of Gruen bought the corporate, and in 1958 the corporate had damaged down. US amenities moved from Ohio to New York when Swiss operations have been lastly shut down in 1977.

Gruen Curvex: See announcements
Gruen Precision: See announcements
Gruen Pan American: See bulletins [19659007] Lemania

Lemania, founded in 1884, produced etbauches, principally utilized by different watchmakers. From the outset, the chronograph brand and its sophistication resulted in some legendary chronograph actions, together with the Caliber 1873 used in the unique Omega Speedmaster, and the straightforward Caliber 5100 used in several Sinan watches. Tutima, Porsche Design and Omega, which turned a pillar of some soldiers. Though Lemania primarily targeted on the motion of buildings, there have been several Lemania branded watches produced within the 20th century.

Like many forgotten watches from the last century, Lemania fell within the 1970s with a rising quartz watch. The model rose within the 1980s to Nouvelle Lemania, which was acquired by Swatch Group in 1999 with Breguet. At the moment, the Lemania identify is not used, however the company continues to make calibrations for the Breguet and Swatch groups. Lemanias, like lots of their tools taking a look at magazines from the 20th century, at the moment are keen with collectors. Though some solely time fashions can go beneath $ 1000, chronographs, especially in fine condition, will put you again at the least $ 1,500.

Lemania Watches
Lemania 192 View advertisements
Lemania CH27 View advertisements
Lemania Elvström View listings
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Like most watchmakers in this record, Niva has a historical past that dates again to the 19th century, but the model really came after the Second World Struggle when it took critical sports activities watches. significantly. Maybe the most effective example of this was the "Antarctic", a easy three-handed watch, which was thought-about to be magnetic and water resistant, which was constructed and used in the course of the US Navy Operation Deep Freeze throughout a world geophysical yr. It survived the unbelievable cold, spectacular performance, however it is nonetheless comparatively unknown compared to other analysis days aside from Rolex Explorer and Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic.

Nivada continues to construct different durable watches for the subsequent decade. There was a Chronomaster, a chronograph meant for both diving and aviation, which was waterproof to 600 ft and used the motion of the Valjoux pole wheel chronograph, and was additionally a Depthmaster, an enormous thick diver, categorized as waterproof for superb 1000 meters, a powerful figure, to not point out in 1965 when it was launched. At the similar time, the model launched the Depthomatic, which was thought-about as the primary dive watch depth meter.

Apparently, Nivada faced authorized issues in the USA because the identify was phonetically just like Movado Watches, so Nivada watches have been typically distributed in the USA underneath the model identify "Nivada Grenchen" or divided into Croton watches.

Nivada Antarctic: View Advertisements
Nivada Chronomaster: View Advertisements
Nivada Depthmaster: View Advertisements watchmaker in south london. Established in 1851, the business developed through the years. On the turn of the century, the Smiths made instruments for automobiles and aircraft (in reality, the Smiths devices have been put in on the primary transatlantic flight in 1919 and the primary business jet in 1952). Although the brand was well known for its instruments, its watch production was half of the UK market firstly of World Struggle II.

It wasn't till after World Warfare II, when Smiths began manufacturing wrist watches in England. Its watches have been relatively simple, however the watchmaker's biggest moment came in 1953 when Sir Edmond Hillary took the Smiths Deluxe to Everest (together with the Rolex Explorer). Hillary's account labored completely.

Smith's reputation grew, however Smiths decided to stop producing watches by focusing on the aerospace business. As we speak, Timefactors produces a handful of watches underneath the Smith's identify, but they’re on no account associated to Smith's mid-20th century watches. Regardless of its historic significance, Classic Smiths watches are quite low cost as we speak, apart from the military-spec. W10, which usually sells for over $ 1000. Smiths Watches to Acquire
Smiths Deluxe View Lists
Smiths Everest See Lists
Smiths W10 View Lists

Founded in 1894 at Common Genéve

Universal Genéve is probably one of the influential Swiss watchmakers who seemingly disappear from the ground. In 1917, during World Struggle I, World Genéve was the first watchmaker to arrange a watch with a watch. In the 1930s, chronographs turned the primary focus of the Universal, and the model produced the current icon in a collection of Compax chronographs. After World Struggle II, Universal Genéve was one of many first watchmakers to test the micro-rotor's automated watches and launch their first micro-rotor clock, Polarouter designed by Gérald Genta, in 1954.

Common Genéve was in the late 60s and early 1970s owned by Bulova, and in the length of the Quartz disaster it was one of many few Swiss watchmakers who tried to make and promote their very own quartz movement. In 1989, the model was bought to a Stelux firm based mostly in Hong Kong. Although the brand has launched some micro-rotor watches after the acquisition, they do not appear to launch a new clock since 2009. Nevertheless, Classic Universals are investing heavily in the present day as costs (particularly Compax chronographs) have risen steadily

Common Genéve Watches
Common Genéve Polerouter See Listings
Common Genéve Uni-Compax See Listings
Universal Genéve Tri -Compax See all advertisements


Wittnauer was based in New York within the 1880s by a Swiss immigrant named Albert Wittnauer, who originally labored within the brother-in-law high-quality watch import enterprise. Wittnauer saw the need for Swiss watches tailor-made to the US market and commenced utilizing Swiss-supplied shops (from several suppliers) to offer a more reasonably priced various to other Swiss imports. One of many brand's first main innovations in wristwatches was the 1920's AllFroof, which claimed to be the world's first watch that was shock-resistant, waterproof and antimagnetic. During World Warfare I, many Wittnauer wristwatches changed the infantry's giant pocket watches, and branded plane have been used in many American plane throughout World Conflict I. The Wittnauer instruments have been even featured on Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega-5B when she made her solo flight over the Atlantic in 1932. Wittnauer also produced many bells, timer compasses and watches for a US soldier during World Conflict II.

In contrast to many different watchmakers, Wittnauer was not steamed with the introduction of a quartz watch. It produced its first digital clock in 1957, and was purchased by Westinghouse in 1969. In the 1970s, the model would construct each quartz and mechanical watches (including chronographs and everlasting calendars and other problems), regardless that in the 1980s and 90s the brand started to be unclear. In 2001, Bulova purchased Wittnauer, and these days it is a sub-brand

Wittnauer Watches to Gather
Wittnauer's Watches: See Lists
Wittnauer Professional: View advertisements
Wittnauer 2000: View listings


Though clock manufacturing in Europe is usually related to Switzerland and Germany, France has its personal watch manufacturing history and Yema is undoubtedly the most effective brands. Founded in 1948 in Besançon, France, watchmaker Henry Louis Belmont, Yema's objective was to supply reasonably priced and dependable watches, featured in lots of instruments, wanting at the brand in the 60s and 70s.

In 1963, Yema constructed Superman, an early dive watch, each waterproof and 300 meters, with a locking mechanism for a rotating frame at three o'clock; it was thought-about so sturdy when given to members of the French Air Drive. Shortly afterwards, the model made its debut at the Rallygraf – racing race, used by drivers like Mario Andretti, and Yachtingraf, a sea-ready chronograph that is waterproof to 200 meters high and specifically built for pleasure boats. In 1982, Yema turned the first French watchmaker to place his watch into area when French astronaut Jean-Loup Chrétien used Yema Spationauto for ten days in area.

Though these watches have been on their solution to the USA, most did so via third-party distributors utilizing totally different names, so Yema isn’t notably recognizable. Despite the fact that the watchmaker seemed to adjust the quartz crisis comparatively properly, Seiko lastly acquired the brand in 1988 and was a sub-brand for the Japanese company in Europe. Ultimately, Yema was bought again to the French leadership and has been quietly an unbiased model after it bought its basic watches.

Yema Superman: View advertisements
Yema Rallygraf: View advertisements
Yema Yachtingraf: View listings
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